How Do I Become a Travel Counselor?
There are no specific requirements to become a travel counselor, but it helps to have experience and voluntary training. Travel counselors typically provide advice and information for people preparing for trips, and can also handle booking of airline and event tickets, hotels, and other services customers may need. Some work independently while others are employed by travel agencies, some of which have specific requirements for their staff. People with an interest in this field need good organizing and coordinating skills, as well as an interest in travel.
It can help to have an undergraduate degree, although this is not required. Some colleges have programs like foreign language education, history, and geography that can be helpful for those interested in this field. Training programs to become a travel counselor are also available. These provide information about the industry and may generate professional connections, as students sometimes have access to job fairs and other events that may not be open to the general public. Graduates of such programs may be in a better position than people with regular college degrees or no training at all.
Travel agencies with openings can provide a good start for a person who wants to become a travel counselor. The agency can offer training and experience on the job. Large agencies may have their own courses for personnel. New hires may be sent to these classes to develop skills and proficiency so they can serve customers appropriately. Other travel counselors may get their experience working for airlines, hotels, and other industry companies to develop skills and customer service ability.
Within an agency, a person with sufficient training and experience can apply to become a travel counselor and start providing direct service to customers. People who want to work on their own as independent agents may need to apply for a business license, because they are providing services to members of the public for a fee. It can also be harder to access special deals and benefits provided specifically to travel counselors when working independently. One option is to join a professional organization to obtain credentials which can be used to get bulk deals, free travel vouchers, and other offers available only to industry professionals.
Once someone has become a travel counselor, it is important to keep traveling. People need to be familiar with the locations they discuss with customers, and should follow ongoing events in the political and travel communities. If a locale is dangerous, for example, counselors want to be able to provide accurate information and may be able to offer advice about alternatives. Visitors to new places may also want to know about where they should go and what they should do, and an experienced counselor familiar with the location can offer customized tips to increase customer satisfaction.
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